After you have finally gone through all of the stages necessary to reach a personal injury settlement, you are probably beyond ready to get your check. You’ve been through negotiations, probably filing a lawsuit, and mediation. Between the medical bills that haven’t been paid, the payments that you owe insurance companies, and the missed time from work, you want to be able to stop putting your life on hold. Your personal injury attorney can fill in the blanks when it comes to the specific date of payment for your case, but you can get an idea of when it’s coming with a breakdown of what needs to happen to help you determine the time that it takes to get your settlement in North Carolina.
The release is a legally binding document that the defendant submits to you that contains the terms of the settlement. Your attorney can review the release with you before you sign, but you can’t get your settlement check until you sign it. It will typically include language stating that you give up your right to sue them about this accident or incident in the future.
After the North Carolina courts issue an order of settlement, the defendant has 30 to 60 days to complete and finalize all the settlement documentation.
After they have received your signed release, the defendant’s insurance company will process it and issue a settlement check. The check will probably be sent to your injury attorney.
During this timeframe, you continued to accumulate bills, and t’s likely that parties including your health care insurance company and your attorney picked up these bills. With the arrival of a settlement, you need to pay these back. Before your lawyer can legally dispense your share of the settlement check to you, they have to fulfill lien obligations (medical or government) against your suit.
If you and your attorney worked out a contingency-fee arrangement, they will deduct legal fees and can subtract legal costs (including expert witness fees, court reporting fees) before distributing the remainder of the funds to you.
Sometimes things can happen that delay you getting your settlement money. One way that this occurs is with an appeal. After an order of settlement, the defense has the right to appeal the judge’s decision. An appeal could take one or up to two years to complete.
Other possible delays include:
Sometimes defendants may have to pay settlements with interest for unfair delays. This may prompt the defendant to issue your check quickly after you sign the release.
After all of the steps, the internal processes cease, you’ve paid your legal fees, there’s no more liens, then you can receive what’s left of the settlement. Typically, the check will be sent to your attorney, and they can put it in escrow or a trust account until it clears.
Having a knowledgeable attorney may help to get your settlement sooner than later. Our Tatum & Atkinson lawyers are familiar with anticipating possible delays that can hold up the settlement process. Contact us today to have someone in your corner during this long process. Get started with a free consultation with one of our law firm partners today to learn about how this process works and why you want to hire us as your winning North Carolina personal injury law firm.